I suspect that many fans would say that this episode represents a moment when the series, rather than its main character, rose so high and fell so far. Loren Rosson and Gabriel McKee both have reviews (with spoilers) and there will be spoilers in what follows. And believe me, if you haven’t seen it yet but plan to, there are surprises (even if they are things that some had suspected) which you won’t want spoiled before watching the episode – not least because those surprises are among the only really great moments in the episode.
So, on with the post.
I liked the idea of the Doctor rounding up an army, but it happened so fast, and the reunion with Amy was so unemotional, that it felt unsatisfying. In spite of explosions and deaths it still felt like a “not-war” (as Loren put it).
But the twists involving Melody Pond seem to me to go a long way to redeeming the episode – both the “fool you twice” moment and River Song’s revelation.
So we pretty much now have the answers to some key questions. Or do we? When River Song said she killed the best man in the world, she was referring to something she did to the Ganger Doctor when she was a little girl in a space suit? If that’s going to be the way the clues we’ve been given get tied together, then it will take some truly creative writing to get it to seem feasible.
But maybe it is the complete lack of concern for feasibility that makes Doctor Who so much fun. I posted “River is the only water in the forest” as my Facebook status yesterday, and had a friend and colleague who is a biologist tell me how wrong that was, ecologically.
My response was that concern for scientific accuracy generally spoils Doctor Who. Why should this episode be any different?
Let me end with a video for all those who are pondering the Doctor’s status as warrior and his ethical stance(s), which was shared on IO9 last week: